Louis Walsh has announced he will not be returning to The X Factor.
The 65-year-old entertainment manager has been the ITV talent competition’s most long-standing judge, having been on the panel in all but one of the show’s series since its conception in 2004, but on Thursday he revealed he is bowing out of the show.
He said in a statement: 'I’ve had a fantastic 13 years on The X Factor but the show needs a change and I’m ready to leave.'
Louis won’t be leaving Thames and Syco for good though, as although he won’t be working on The X Factor any more, he will still be the head judge on Ireland’s Got Talent, which returns in 2019.
He added: 'I’m looking forward to another series of Ireland’s Got Talent, going back to my day job as a manager, writing my memoirs and seeing the world!'
Whilst Thames Managing Director, Amelia Brown, added: 'Louis has been a huge part of The X Factor’s success since it launched and remains a good friend of the show.
'His contribution cannot be overstated. We would like to thank him for all he has given to the show over the years and look forward to continuing to work with him in the future.'
Meanwhile, fellow judge Sharon Osbourne will also be taking on a different role in the upcoming series of the show, as whilst she will still be on the panel, she’ll only be present for the live shows.
She said: 'I can’t wait to get back to the judges’ desk. I love the new format.'
Reflecting on Osbourne's return, Amelia continued: 'We are very excited Sharon is taking on a new role on the show and we can’t wait to see her as a judge on the live episodes.
'This is the start of a new era for The X Factor. I am really excited about all the ideas we have for the coming series including, of course, the new judging panel.'
Despite his length run on The X Factor, Walsh had only won the show once, with Shayne Ward in 2005.
But the win came after Walsh temporarily quit the show mid-series following a series of spats with his fellow judges, notably Osbourne, who drenched him with water while they recorded an episode.
The judge was notorious for favouring novelty acts, much to the consternation of head judge Cowell, and his legacy will include the likes of Jedward, Wagner and Johnny Robinson.
He is also responsible for mentoring JLS, who went on to sell 10 million records worldwide following their appearance on the show.
Speaking in April, Walsh revealed head judge Simon Cowell had already told him he was assured of a role when then show returns in the autumn.
He told the Mirror: ' have a signed, water-tight contract, as has Sharon Osbourne. Of course you’ll see us back on the show.
'Sharon and I have a three year contract, and we’ve only done two, so this will be our third year. Simon doesn’t break contracts.'
Creator Cowell will be returning to the series alongside three new judges, who are expected to be announced in due course.
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© Associated Newspapers Ltd.